Hashtag Trending Dec.15- Dropbox’s new AI feature raises privacy concerns; Intel’s AI-enabled chip for PCs; X’s ad revenue continues to plunge

Dropbox communication slip up has users thinking their AI search may compromise their privacy, Intel launches its AI enabled chip for PCs. What might be behind OpenAI’s partnership with a German publishing group and our final installment of the X files for 2023. 

The Musk is out there.

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I’m your host Jim Love, CIO of IT World Canada and Tech News Day in the US.

Dropbox’s new AI feature raises privacy concerns. Dropbox recently introduced a feature that automatically shares user data with OpenAI for an AI-powered search tool, causing unease among its users. 

This setting, enabled by default, only shares data when the feature is actively used, and Dropbox assures that the data isn’t used to train AI models and is deleted within 30 days. Despite these assurances, the default activation of this feature led to user discontent. 

Dropbox CEO Drew Houston apologized for the confusion, clarifying that no data is sent to third-party AI services without explicit user action. Critics argue that Dropbox could have communicated this change more transparently. 

The feature, part of the “Dropbox AI alpha,” allows users to interact with a ChatGPT-style bot for file inquiries. Dropbox emphasizes user control over the feature, which can be easily disabled in account settings. Currently, OpenAI is the sole AI provider for this Dropbox feature.

Sources include: ArsTechnica 

Intel Sees Growing Adoption of AI Chips in PCs  

Intel announced that dozens of manufacturers are utilizing its latest processors enabled with AI acceleration technology. The chip, with the code name Meteor Lake was developed specifically to handle AI workloads on laptops and desktops.

By embedding specialty AI circuitry – a neural processing unit within central processors, Intel promises to make AI more accessible in mainstream computing.

Wide adoption by major PC brands like Dell, Microsoft and Lenovo demonstrates burgeoning demand for on-device AI. Intel is positioning itself at the forefront with dedicated silicon tailored to intensive neural network computations. 

This new chip is only the first salvo as Intel ramps up to compete with Nvidia and AMD in this crucial new area. The company said it was working on a new chip called Gaudi 3 (again, I have to ask who makes these names up?)  Anyway, Intel hopes its new Guadi 3 will have what it takes to take on Nvidia in particular.  

Sources include: Reuters

European Union to classify gig workers as employees using the “duck test.” You know the saying – if it walks like a duck and talks like a Duck.

After two years of negotiation, the European Council and Parliament have reached a provisional agreement to reclassify many gig workers as employees. 

This change affects those who use apps for tasks like food delivery or taxi services. Currently, most of the EU’s 28 million platform workers are self-employed, but about 5.5 million may be misclassified. 

The new directive sets criteria for determining employment status and limits algorithmic management of workers. Workers will be considered employees if they meet at least two of five conditions related to payment caps, performance supervision, task allocation, control over working conditions, and discretion in work execution. 

The agreement also mandates human decision-making in dismissals and restricts the use of personal data for profiling or predicting union activity. The European Trade Union Confederation has welcomed the agreement, highlighting its potential to address issues of false self-employment and ensure fair labor rights.

Sources include: The Register

In recent events, the EU has passed the EU AI Act, which stipulates that foundation models must comply with specific transparency obligations before being placed on the market. The EU differentiates general-purpose AI models based on risks, and OpenAI falls under the high-risk category. Axel Springer’s partnership would assist OpenAI in demonstrating to EU officials that it has not used stolen data to train its models.

It turns out that OpenAI’s partnership with European global publisher Axel Springer may be much more strategic than it first appears. 

Axel Springer publishes Politico and Business Insider into ChatGPT. This collaboration, which also includes compensation for Axel Springer, aims to improve GPT-4’s capabilities. 

This move follows OpenAI’s earlier partnership with the Associated Press. 

But here’s where the strategy piece lies.  

OpenAI has a strained relationship with the European Union, especially after Germany considered banning ChatGPT over privacy concerns. 

This collaboration could help OpenAI navigate the EU’s new AI Act, which imposes strict transparency obligations on high-risk AI models like those of OpenAI. 

The partnership also comes amidst competition from Grok, which offers real-time information access. And there is also competition coming from Open Source like Mistral AI.  Open source companies are exempt from the EU’s legislation.

One drawback is that OpenAI’s decision to partner with a specific media house could introduce bias into ChatGPT’s responses, which is a concern for OpenAI’s safety team. 

Despite potential drawbacks, this partnership is seen as a strategic move to and potentially one which could enhance ChatGPT’s accuracy and reduce misinformation.

Sources include: Analytics India 

Elon Musk’s X (formerly Twitter) is facing a significant downturn in advertising revenue. Insider sources revealed that X expects to end 2023 with around $2.5 billion in ad revenue, a substantial drop from previous years and half a billion short of its $3 billion target. 

In 2022, Twitter generated over $1 billion in ad revenue per quarter, but X has only managed a little over $600 million in each of the first three quarters of 2023. 

The recent advertiser fallout over antisemitic content on X, estimated to have caused a $75 million loss, further clouds the fourth quarter’s outlook. Advertising earnings, which comprise 70-75 per cent of X’s revenue, suggest total earnings of roughly $3.4 billion in 2023, including subscriptions and data licensing deals. 

If the damage caused by anti-semetic tweets wasn’t enough, Musk has doubled down by allowing Alex Jones, who denied the Sandy Hook massacres, to be allowed back on Twitter. How that will win new advertising revenue is a bit of a mystery to us mere mortals.

X’s head of business operations, Joe Benarroch, emphasized that X should no longer be compared to Twitter, as it is now an evolving business with multiple revenue streams. 

Amidst these challenges, X is attempting to attract more users and content creators with ad revenue sharing, but the current advertiser boycott and Musk’s controversial statements and behaviours may hinder these efforts.

Sources include: ArsTechnica 

Amazon’s ‘Alexa, thank my driver’ campaign has returned. 

Amazon has brought back its initiative to appreciate delivery drivers during the holiday season. By saying “Alexa, thank my driver,” customers can express their gratitude, and the first two million drivers to receive thanks will also get a $5 bonus from Amazon. 

This gesture acknowledges the crucial role of delivery drivers in the holiday economy, from stocking shelves to sorting packages. To thank a driver, users can simply use their Echo device or the Amazon shopping or Alexa app. The ‘Thank my driver’ feature is available for deliveries made within the past 14 days. 

After the first two million drivers have been thanked, customers can still express gratitude, but no monetary reward will be included. Additionally, customers can show appreciation by leaving snacks and refreshments or small gifts for their regular delivery drivers. This campaign is a way for Amazon to recognize the hard work of drivers during the busiest time of the year.

Sources include: ZDNet 

And that’s what’s trending today.

Hashtag Trending goes to air 5 days a week with a special weekend interview show we call “the Weekend Edition.” We’ll be off the air with the daily show until January 8th, but I’ll be doing a few live shows through that time, so keep checking on us.

One last request for this year – two actually.  One let me know how we are doing.  Are we hitting the right articles for you? Do you want to hear more of one thing and less of another. I’d love to use this in our planning for the coming year. Write to me at [email protected] – it’s easy. J for Jim. Love and then itwc.ca for IT World Canada. [email protected] Or just leave a comment after the show notes posted on itworldcanada.com 

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I’m your host Jim Love.  Have a Fabulous Friday and a Happy Holiday.

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